Actors: Avoid These 5 Simple Mistakes

Have you ever been to an audition or a job and you walk out not sure what just happened? Or something just doesn’t feel right?

Here are five tips on how to avoid that awful feeling:

1. Always read and re-read the instructions from your agent and/or manager. Instructions are there to guide you; human nature makes us sometimes not want to read instructions. Be sure you understand everything before you go in.

Example: For a clothing fit model job, the instructions specifically said there was a three hour minimum pay. This translates to: If you’re working less than three hours, you still get paid for three hours.

In this business, there’s lots of hustle and bustle. As soon as you’re done, production is on to the next person and before you know it, your pay voucher is signed and you’re shuffled out the door. In this case, the model was there for only two hours and the voucher was signed for just the two hours instead of the pre-agreed three hour minimum.

ACTORS TIP: Never leave the job without checking your voucher. Make sure the pay rate, hours and signatures are in tact.

2. Agents and managers are human — they make mistakes, too.

Example: For a fit model go-see, the instructions read that you will try on some items and then be measured. However, if you try on three + items, the agent then considers it a booking and you should get paid. Don’t leave without the voucher being signed.

The model tried on three pieces of clothing, was measured and then told she could leave. This left the model in a state of confusion, since the instructions clearly stated it was considered a booking if three or more items were tried on. When the model mentioned this to her contact at the fitting, she was told, “We will contact your agency if you’re chosen.”

ACTORS TIP: Call your agency or manager BEFORE you leave and tell them what just happened. The manager / agent said they will check on this, stay put and call back in five minutes. As it turned out, the instructions were wrong. It should have said if FOUR garments were tried on, then it’s considered a booking. Whoever typed the instructions pressed “3” on the keyboard instead of “4”.

3. Do your research before an interview with an agency.

Example: You’ve been in the business for years as a working television and film character actor, but now you want to branch out to do commercials. You ask your manager to set up an appointment with a commercial agency.

At the end of the interview, the agency tells you that commercials are very slow right now but if something comes up that fits, they will call you, maybe in a few weeks. Right away this should be a sign that the agency doesn’t currently have a spot for you.

You know that commercials are NOT slow because you did your research. Your actor friends who are already auditioning for commercials are so busy, they can’t breathe.

ACTORS TIP: Take action right away and ask your manager to set up interviews with other commercial agencies right away. If you wait those “maybe in a few weeks”, especially if you weren’t offered a contract, you’re wasting precious time during busy season.

4. Do NOT make excuses.

Example: You’re late, you’re sweating and you all around feel like a slob. Guess what? The casting director doesn’t care. The production people don’t care. You’re the only one who cares.

TIP: Always keep a spare set of clothes and wash-up bag (two washcloths — one to wash with and one as your mini-towel, make-up, deodorant, toothbrush / paste) with you. You already have a bag with your headshots and wallet, so just stick the spare clothes in there.

Stinky5. Do NOT wear perfume, cologne or hairspray that has an odor.

Example: You stink because you didn’t have your spare clothes bag so you decide to cover up  your bad smell with a flowery sweet smell.

ACTORS TIP: This is just as big as “do NOT shake the CD’s hand”. In the acting world, it’s forbidden to put perfume or cologne or any type of good-smelling stuff on you. Last thing you need is to have the CD start sneezing or become so overwhelmed with what you think is a lovely smell, that they can’t concentrate on your audition.

Bottom line is:

a) If you’re confused or told something different than what has just happened, immediately call your agent and/or manager to discuss.

b) Research, research, research.

c) Be courteous. Be happy. Leave with a good feeling.

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